Sunday, September 21, 2014

60 percent of the 14.2 million people in forced labour are male.

Ryan Beck Turner writes about human trafficking:
The United States is a significant destination, origin and transit country for human trafficking. As such, Americans have an obligation to confront and be accountable for the human trafficking occurring within their borders. The myopic focus on sex trafficking of girls in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe draws attention away from the fact that the tomatoes we eat may be the product of forced labor in Florida or that the person selling magazines at our door may be a homeless youth being trafficked state to state.

According to the ILO’s 2012 estimates, 60 percent of the 14.2 million people in forced labour are male. Yet male victims of human trafficking are rarely discussed. The lack of public attention on the trafficking of men and boys is reflected in the absence of services for male survivors of human trafficking. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Polaris Project, there are 529 shelter beds available specifically for trafficking survivors in the United States. Of those 529 shelter beds, 125 are available to men, and a mere two are reserved for men only.
Read more here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bagging up the sun-drenched summer of your life - to retrieve someday in the winter of your life

Ann Voskamp has some thoughts about motherhood and the passing of time:
Motherhood is seeing the map of your own bones unfold into a whole other person and the ride of a lifetime.

And sometimes all you want to do is go back, get a do-over — sometimes all you want to do is bag up the whole sun-drenched summer of your life — to retrieve someday in the winter of your life.

Ann recently celebrated her tenth anniversary of blogging, which is one more year than I:
10 years this September, 10 unexpected years I’ve been writing here in this corner, a whole decade of collecting lines of our story, His Story. So we can go back to what we bottled and taste again of who we are — to remind ourselves of who we are when we forget.

Sometimes you don’t know you’re walking through a door until you find yourself inside.

Sometimes you don’t know what He’ll use to heal you, sometimes you won’t know the cost. Sometimes you won’t be prepared for the fire and the heat and the Spirit and the fear-begging-to-be-made courage. I never expected so much joy to come in so many unexpected ways.

How much of your life do you leave behind memories the way you want?

Ann also has a new book out called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.



Open the borders, or close them?

This is one of the most intriguing Trifectas, because Scott and Bill express different points of view.

Ferguson 2.0?

There has been an officer-involved shooting of an armed black man named Charles Smith in Savannah, Georgia. The man who was shot dead had been handcuffed behind his back and put into the back seat of a patrol car. He kicked out the window and fled the scene with his weapon in plain sight of the officer. He is being described by the media as a "victim." I have not seen any information about why the police were in the process of arresting him. Here is a photo of him.

Here is this "victim's" criminal history:
“Smith was previously charged with several counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, cruelty to children, possession of cocaine and theft by receiving stolen property. Smith served time in state prison 3 times in connection to several of these charges.”

The media is referring to Smith, the dead armed felon, as “the victim of a police shooting”, not as the armed suspect shot by police. Those subtle differences are HUGELY important. The words chosen lead the reader or listener. They implant ideas. “That poor fella was the victim”. He has to be right? After all, they called him the victim.
Read more here.

Violating the Constitution on Constitution Day

Andrew Kloster writes about Penn State University shutting down the Young Americans for Freedom table in the "free speech" zone on campus. Why? They were handing out copies of the US Constitution on Constitution Day! They were also handing out
information about Penn State’s restrictive speech code. This is probably the real reason for the targeting.

Sound familiar? It should. Last year, Robert Van Tuinen, an Army vet and student at Modesto Junior College, was shut down passing out copies of The Heritage Foundation’s “Guide to the Constitution.” He sued his college and it eventually settled the lawsuit, paying him $50,000.

This year, it was Penn State’s turn to continue the tradition of violating the Constitution on Constitution Day. But why? Lawyers for public universities should know that shutting down speech exposes them to First Amendment lawsuits. Furthermore, passing out copies of the Constitution performs a valuable educational service that many universities don’t perform on their own. If anything, Penn State should be thanking Jolie Davis and the other PSU YAF student activists.
Read more here.

Being informed, in sync

Seth Godin misses the good old days:

Everyone used to read the morning paper because everyone did. Everyone like us, anyway. The people in our group, the informed ones. We all read the same paper.

Everyone used to read the selection of the book of the month club, because everyone did.

And everyone used to watch the same TV shows too. It was part of being not only informed, but in sync.

Today, of course, that's awfully unlikely. Only 1 or 2 percent of the population watch the typical 'hit' show on cable. Of course, it's entirely possible that everyone in your circle, the circle you wish to be respected by, is watching the same thing, but that circle keeps getting smaller, doesn't it?

And when 'everyone' isn't part of the picture any more, when the long tail is truly the only tail, plenty of people stop trying. They stop reading difficult books or watching less-than-thrilling video, and they don't push themselves to do the hard stuff, because, really, why bother?

Society without a cultural, intellectual core feels awfully different than the society that we're walking away from.
Found here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

How many people from terrorist-linked countries are sneaking across our border into the US?

Edwin Mora writes:
U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended at least 474 aliens from terrorism-linked countries attempting to sneak into the country illegally this year alone, according to a leaked document obtained by Breitbart Texas.

Illegals from terrorism-linked countries apprehended by Border Patrol agents are referred to as Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) in the CBP intelligence document.

SIAs are individuals whose native country is found on a list of 35 nations described in a November 2004 CBP memo as "special interest countries."

A 2011 audit by the DHS inspector general, which originally included a similar list that was later taken down, described special interest countries as those “that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members.”

The CBP intelligence document contains SIA arrest figures from the beginning of fiscal 2009 through July 20, 2014.

During that period, nearly 3,000 SIAs were apprehended by border agents for trying to sneak into the U.S. illegally.
Read more here.

Russia builds up nuclear capabilities, tries to intimidate US

Bill Gertz notes that
Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former Alaskan Air Command commander with experience in Russian strategic flight incursions, said the increased bomber activity appears related to nuclear activities.

“They are having a very aggressive nuclear readiness exercise now as a show of force,” McInerney said. “Whereas the U.S. has been on a path of nuclear zero which they think is ridiculous.”

McInerney added: “The Russians sense weakness in American leadership and they are trying to intimidate us and show us that our nuclear deterrent forces are vulnerable to Russian nuclear forces.”

Russia, under Putin, is engaged in a large-scale nuclear buildup that includes new missiles, submarines, and a new bomber.

On Sept. 10, the Russian navy conducted a test firing of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.

State-run Interfax-AVN news service reported earlier this week that nuclear cruise missile firing Russian Tu-95 Bear Bombers and Tu-22 Backfire C bombers completed missions that involved “snap readiness checks” in the Pacific.

Russian military forces also are bolstering forces in the arctic as part of Moscow’s efforts to secure resources in the region.

Two military bases are being built at Wrangel Island, on the arctic Chukchi Sea north of the Russian Far East, and on Cape Schmidt, also on the Chukchi Sea, the Moscow Times reported Sept. 8.

The report said the bases were part of Moscow’s efforts to restore the Soviet military presence in the resource-rich arctic.

Russia also is deploying new attack submarines to the region.
Read more here.

What is "Social Justice?"

Is Social Justice" a mirage (Hayek) or is it a Trojan horse (Jonah Goldberg), concealing a much more radical agenda? Goldberg asserts that
"Social Justice" is a profoundly ideological term, masquerading as a generic term for goodness.

This has been the primary disguise of liberalism ever since: "We're not ideologues, we're pragmatists! And if only you crazy ideologues" — "market fundamentalists," "right-wingers," "zealots," "dogmatists," etc. — "would just get out of the way and let us do what all smart people agree is the smart thing to do, we could fix all the problems facing us today."

The subtext is always clear: People who disagree with liberalism do so because they are deranged, brainwashed, corrupt, selfish, or stupid.

According to Jonah Goldberg,
if the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, the greatest trick liberals ever pulled was convincing themselves they’re not ideological.

Today, “objective” journalists, academics, and “moderate” politicians peddle some of the most radical arguments by hiding them in homespun apho­risms. Barack Obama casts himself as a disciple of reason: He’s a pragmatist, opposed to the ideology and drama of the Right, solely concerned with “what works.” And today’s liberals follow his lead, spouting countless clichés such as:

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: Sure, if the other man is an idiot. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? Was Bin Laden a freedom fighter?
Violence never solves anything: Really? It solved our problems with King George III and ended slavery.
We need complete separation of church and state: In other words, all expressions of faith should be barred from politics . . . except when they support liberal programs.

With humor and passion, Goldberg dismantles these and many other Trojan horses that liberals use to cheat in the war of ideas. He shows that the Pro­gressive tradition of denying an ideological agenda while pursuing it vigorously under the false flag of reasonableness is alive and well. And he reveals how this dangerous game may lead us further down the path of self-destruction.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Questions for the Benghazi Select Committee

Andrew McCarthy wonders if the Benghazi Select Committee will answer these questions:
Why did our government change sides in Libya for the benefit of anti-American jihadists? What exactly was our government doing in Benghazi – what mission was worth assigning U.S. personnel to one of the most dangerous places in the world for Americans? Who is ultimately responsible for the appalling lack of security at the American compound? Where was President Obama, and what exactly was he doing, during the hours Americans were under siege? Why did the commander-in-chief and the military-chain-of-command take no meaningful action taken to respond to the attack? What role did election-eve politics – Obama’s repeated claims to have “decimated” al Qaeda – play in the administration’s misleading decision to portray the video, rather than al Qaeda-tied terrorists, as the culprit?

We must watch the committee with an open mind. Chairman Gowdy is an impressive fellow and clearly a fine lawyer. The committee has done very little publicly, but we have been told it is working hard behind the scenes, studying documents and deposing witnesses. Today’s hearing is the beginning, not the end. But many of us were hoping for a more enlightening public session before the committee goes dark again.
Read more here.

"Like being called up to the majors"

Graeme Wood writes an interesting piece in The Atlantic about how prison gangs
have become the unlikely custodians of order behind bars — and of crime on the streets.
One out of every 108 adults in America is incarcerated. California has six main gangs: Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Guerrilla Family, the Northern Structure, or the Nazi Lowriders (the last two are offshoots of Nuestra Familia and the Aryan Brotherhood.

There are few places other than a prison where men’s desires are more consistently thwarted, and where men whose desires are thwarted have so much time to think up creative ways to circumvent their obstacles.

many aspects of gang politics that appear to be sources of unresolvable hatred immediately dissipate if they threaten the stability of prison society.

Another common misconception about prison gangs is that they are simply street gangs that have been locked up. The story of their origins, however, is closer to the opposite: the Mexican Mafia, for example, was born at Deuel Vocational Institution, in Tracy, California, in 1956, and only later did that group, and others, become a presence on the streets. Today, the relation of the street to the cellblock is symbiotic. “The young guys on the street look to the gang members inside as role models,” says Charles Dangerfield, a former prison guard who now heads California’s Gang Task Force, in Sacramento. “Getting sentenced to prison is like being called up to the majors.”

On every cellblock at Pelican Bay, the guards post plastic identity cards on the wall, to keep track of which inmate is in which cell. These cards include each inmate’s name and photo. But the most-important information is conveyed by the cards’ color, which roughly correlates with probable gang affiliation: green for northern Hispanics, pink for southern Hispanics, blue for blacks, white for whites, and yellow for others, including American Indians, Mexican nationals, Laotians, and Eskimos. The information is crucial to the smooth running of the institution. Maintaining balance in a cellblock, and not putting a lone gang member in a situation where he might be surrounded by members of a rival gang, requires constant attention on the part of the corrections officers.
Read more here.

Terror raids in Australia

Fifteen IS terrorists have been arrested in Australia. Over 800 police officers conducted raids in more than a dozen locations. Authorities allege that the terrorists planned to kidnap citizens, behead them, then drape their bodies in the black flag of the IS.
Read more here.


J. Christian Adams explains how Democrats use something called Catalist, a microtargeting scheme to identify voters likely to support leftist policies.
The data feeding the central Catalist database are coming from a wide swath of sources. Public records, pollsters, campaigns, non-profits, activist groups, unions, parties, commercial data — scores and scores of sources are feeding the central database data.

For example, when an environmental group does neighborhood door knocking for cash, the results of those contacts are fed into Catalist.

You have your own individual voter file in Catalist. Everyone does. Under that file might be a massive amount of information about you — more than probably exists in any other database in the world. Whom you work for, what car you might drive, donations you have made, assumptions based on your neighborhood, anything in a public government database about you, consumer preferences, partisan preferences, what licenses you have, what you might have said to pollsters on the phone, memberships, how you treated the young left-wing activist knocking on your door a few years ago, and on and on and on.

Mitt Romney spent time and money trying to capture the contemplative middle while Obama used Catalist data to wring out more votes from the far-left base. Even worse, at the same time, Romney distanced himself from his easier-to-motivate (and cheaper to get) base.

Romney wouldn’t even go on conservative talk radio, for free.
Read more here.
Update: Ace of Spades has some thoughts on the subject:
I'm not sure if I like the Left's model of Complete Centralization of Command and Control of money, ideas, and data. It's a model that would naturally appeal to the Left, of course, which envisions the same model as the highest aspiration for society generally.

I think centralized control might have some advantages in some circumstances... until centralized control makes large errors, which it then infects all its inferior robots with.

But at the moment, it does seem to be working.

And certainly in the area of Borg-like cooperation and hierarchical command that Adams reports on -- in the area of data sharing -- they are kicking our asses up and down the quadrant. While every conservative group guards its data as if its data were money (which, actually, it is), our Friends on the Left have, per the socialist model, decided that all property and wealth belongs to the collective, to be dispensed by the collective as the Central Organizing Committee of The Collective sees fit.

I don't know what to do about this. I don't want to follow them down this creepy robot road, but on the other hand, I'm also tired of losing.
Read more here.

Home of the Brave . . . and the Jihadists?

Guest post
By Suzann Darnall

I am appalled that our government tries to say ISIS is not a danger to the Homeland. Who are they trying to fool? Any and all jihadist movements are a danger to America . . . and they ARE already here!

It does not matter what name they go by. To nitpick about who is stronger, Al Qaeda or ISIS, is just a name game government is playing to muddy the waters and not let America know the truth. Islamic terrorists are at war with America. They have openly declared this war and continue to do it through videos, tweets, and killings!

The liberal media is an active participant in trying to hide the truth of terrorism on American soil. They work very hard to uphold the myth Obama tells of keeping America safe from terror. Try telling that to all of the families across America that lost loved ones to the Boston Marathon bombers or Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hassan. Tell that to the family of Bendan Tevlin who was one of four victims shot by a self-professed jihadist as revenge on Americans. Tell it to the numerous other victims of Sharia law, genital mutilation, honor-killings, and other criminal or violent acts that happen each day within America's borders under the mantle of Islam.

Obama, his administration, and the liberal media can call it gun violence, man-made disasters, workplace violence, or any other lie they want. We know the truth. Terrorists live among us. And, it is quite likely that more pour across our unsecured borders every day.

This president, for whatever reasons, cannot be bothered with the truth or with protecting Americans. He is apparently only concerned with protecting himself and his legacy. Well, his legacy is one of unmitigating failure wrapped in a tissue of lies and tied up with a string of terrorists acts he has perpetuated by turning a blind eye to reality.

Even more frightening is the administration's somewhat ho-hum attitude about the American citizens who go to fight overseas for the terrorists, while retaining their passports and citizenship. These people can come back to America traveling on those passports. They can perform acts of terror or recruit more jihadists, right here at home.

Of course, Obama showed he really isn't that concerned about bringing possible threats to the Homeland right on in. He showed that with his trading of Islamic terrorist leaders for Bowe Bergdahl and repatriating him with a minimum of care. Not to mention doing terrorist trials right in New York City, instead of at Gitmo.

I hope and pray all Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, Reagan Democrats, Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Conservatives, patriots, and those who truly care about America will turn out to vote for the letter "R" in November! I know not all Republicans are Conservatives and most politicians are far from perfect, but we have a better chance of surviving if we can minimize the damage done across our nation from local to national if we keep as many Democrats from forming majorities as possible.

We need to take back our liberty, our security, and our country. We can take a step in that direction by taking away the Senate from Obama and Harry Reid! After all, not all who would do us harm hide under the banner of jihad. Some are just plain ol' lyin' Democrat politicians

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A call, a relationship, His hand

Ann Voskamp writes:
We want clarity -- and God gives a call. We want a road map --- and God gives a relationship. We want answers -- and God gives His hand.
Read more here.

Bombs away!

Dick Morris knows how to defeat the Islamic State: bomb the oil fields they have captured, bomb their oil field trucks, bomb their roads. Hit them in the pocket book! Watch his video here


Dick Morris explains that, like Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Hillary Clinton has a dilemma:
Just as Humphrey did, she is wrestling with how to put distance between herself and an unpopular president, particularly as the commander in chief sinks deeper and deeper into an increasingly difficult foreign war.

Like Humphrey with President Lyndon B. Johnson, Clinton is seeking to take advantage of her experience in the race for the White House while trying to articulate where she differs with the president on the policy she helped to formulate. In both cases, the president -- despite declining poll ratings among the general electorate -- retained formidable resources as the leader of his party. Whipsawed between fear of antagonizing the president and his political base and the need to separate from a failed foreign policy, both Humphrey and Clinton present an image of vacillation and possibly weakness.
Read more here.

Clearing up misunderstandings

President Obama in 2009: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up — under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

David Harsanyi writes:
In a report requested for by eight Republicans House members, the GAO found that 18 insurance providers in 28 states made no attempt to limit access to abortion coverage. And though the Office of Personnel Management is theoretically tasked with making sure at least one insurance plan in each exchange does not cover abortions at all, in states like Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont, every insurance plan on the exchanges offered elective abortion. Yes, it’s against the rules. What are you going to do about it?

Harsanyi also mentions:
when Planned Parenthood receives $540.6 million of federal funding, each of those interchangeable taxpayer dollars is being “invested” in the abortion business.

And what about the role of Medicaid?
While the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, state funding has no such prohibition. Medicaid is the primary payer for 41% of births nationwide, including 60% in New York City and 70% in Louisiana. It also pays for a sizable number of abortions. And this absolutely has an impact: the trendline for Medicaid funded abortions have only increased during the recession, and will only continue to increase under Obama’s Medicaid expansion. And funding has a dramatic impact—this survey of academic literature from Guttmacher notes: “Approximately one-fourth of women who would have Medicaid-funded abortions instead give birth when this funding is unavailable.”
Read more here.

Comprehensive immigration reform: what is it?

Victor Davis Hanson writes:
Comprehensive immigration reform — rarely has a catchphrase been so widely invoked and yet so little defined. Why?

If proponents of so-called reform detailed exactly what they wanted, American voters would never support their self-interested agendas.

So what is the agenda Obama wants to put in place after the fall elections?
The effort is instead fueled by an agenda of perpetual big government and a concern to expand future constituencies, allay the anger of Latino activists, and accommodate wealthy business donors.

The great unspoken fact of illegal immigration is that it is utterly anti-diversity and ethnically chauvinistic, outsourcing immigration policy to the Latino-Democratic-employer lobby, and dubbing any who object to such racialist criteria as racist.

Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform should delineate exactly what they mean and do not mean by their vague rhetoric. They need to be exact in ascertaining who would deserve legal residence, and who by past misbehavior would not. They must bring these proposals to the Congress, have an open debate, seek to pass the necessary legislation and then have it signed by the president.

If they insist on smearing skeptics who are appalled at the present chaos on the border, they should remember that diversity, legality, meritocracy, integration, assimilation and the irrelevance of race once upon a time used to be liberal ideals.

Not anymore.
Read more here.

Why Hispanics in Texas fare much better than Hispanics in California

Mike Gonzales writes a comprehensive piece showing why Hispanics in Texas fare much better than Hispanics in California.
Read the whole thing here.

The bigoted history of the Democrat Party

What would be wrong ?

Scott Ott makes an observation and then asks a question:
Some 650,000 New York Citians live in housing paid for (in part or whole) by taxpayers, according to Crain’s New York. They live there, many don’t have full-time jobs, and yet some $18 billion in repairs and upgrades languish on a government wait list. What would be wrong with teaching a new skill to some of the beneficiaries of this federal entitlement, and letting them spruce up their own surroundings?
Go here to read more.

Can we put the toothpaste back in the tube?

Must we accept that things are just going to get much worse?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No mention of any of the scandals?

Robert Tracinski details ten reasons why the Obama presidency is a failure:
1. He didn’t heal our racial divisions.

2. The stimulus didn’t stimulate.

3. Financial reform didn’t reform.

4. ObamaCare is a boondoggle.

5. Obama failed to reform immigration.

6. He withdrew prematurely from Iraq.

7. He blew the Arab Spring.

8. Obama ignored the threat of a resurgent Russian dictatorship.

9. He didn’t shut down Guantanamo, keep the NSA from spying, or rein in the drones.

10. He has made America irrelevant.
Read more here.


Roger Cohen writes about The Great Unraveling:
It was a time of weakness. The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.
Read more here.

"Trapped in a purgatory of their own deceit"

Sharyl Attkisson has another bombshell report:
As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff allegedly present at after-hours document review.

Photo by Sharyl Attkisson

“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Maxwell also is a prolific poet. While on administrative leave, he published poems online: allegories hinting at his post-Benghazi observations and experiences.

A poem entitled “Invitation” refers to his placement on leave in December 2012: “The Queen’s Henchmen / request the pleasure of your company / at a Lynching — / to be held / at 23rd and C Streets NW [State Dept. building] / on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 / just past sunset. / Dress: Formal, Masks and Hoods — / the four being lynched / must never know the identities/ of their executioners, or what/ whose sin required their sacrifice./ A blood sacrifice — / to divert the hounds- / to appease the gods — / to cleanse our filth and /satisfy our guilty consciences…”

In another poem called “Trapped in a purgatory of their own deceit,” Maxwell wrote: “The web of lies they weave / gets tighter and tighter / in its deceit / until it bottoms out — / at a very low frequency — / and implodes…Yet all the while, / the more they talk, / the more they lie, / and the deeper down the hole they go… Just wait…/ just wait and feed them the rope.”
Read more here.
Thanks to Ace of Spades

Monday, September 15, 2014

Giving thanks for God's gifts

Ann Voskamp returns to her theme:
Holy joy lies in the habit of murmuring thanks to God for the smallest of graces.

Christ is the offering and salvation is the gift and repentance is what makes us recipients of grace.

Communion with God is possible anywhere.

You can’t earn God’s love. You can only turn towards God love.
Please read more here.

Men dig beauty. Chicks dig power. The rest is hamster nibbles.

Chateau Heartiste links to some scientific studies, then recaps:
In one survey of men, Trapnell and Meston (1996) found that nice guys who were modest, agreeable, and unselfish were disadvantaged in sexual relationships.

Women are very often attracted to bad boys like James Bond. In fact, research shows young women sometimes prefer out-and-out jerks.

For every Ray Rice who knocks a loving wife out, there’s a loving wife who chose to be with a Ray Rice.

In a study of over 1000 participants in three dozen cultures it was consistently found that men are focused on looks and women on status.

Women say one thing but do another.

Male ambiguity, coyness, overconfidence and entitlement are sexy.

Men value female looks far above all other considerations.

Women value male social status above male looks.

Niceguys finish last.

Sexual desire is immutable.
Read more here.

We can't find anyone like Daddy!

Matt Labash writes about Edwin Edwards Louisiana's Silver Fox, who, at age 86, is running for Congress.

Yep, that's his wife and son.
Read more here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Endless determination

Humble, gentle man, grateful to God.

Thanks to Ann Voskamp

No hesitation.

10,000? No, it is now 866,519 on You Tube?

Thanks to Ann Voskamp

"He once brought me flowers. They were all dead."

Celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary. 101 and 102-years-old. Her mother didn't think it would last. Neither did he! Enjoy!

A marvelous family

Bowen Toomey was born without arms and legs. A loving family from Idaho flew to Serbia to adopt him. He started kindergarten last week. Read about this wonderful young man and his family here.
Thanks to Ann Voskamp.

The newest threat on college campuses: microaggression

A single declarative sentence

Do you need political insurance?

Seeking victory or engaging in endless mayhem?

Howie Carr writes:
The anti-war movement is MIA as this war, er, counter­terrorism operation, begins. Back when Bush was waging war, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Now it’s “racism.” If you speak truth to power in the Obama era, they call it hate speech. The IRS will audit you.

But the president, a well-known theologian, has informed us that despite what the Muslims of ISIS say, the Islamic State “is not Islamic.” So I guess we’re in a war against SIS — the State of Iraq and Syria. But it still is a war, isn’t it, Mr. Secretary Kerry?

“I think that’s the wrong terminology,” he sniffed yesterday. “What we are engaging in is a very significant counterterrorism operation.”

It’s all very confusing. When George W. Bush considered invading Iraq without a declaration of war, the Democrats wanted to try him for war crimes in The Hague. When Obama does the same thing ... crickets.

Which raises another question: Where exactly is the anti-war movement?

And why is the president so outraged about a couple of beheadings? When a Muslim terrorist yelling “Allahu akbar!” murdered 13 servicemen at Fort Hood, Obama shrugged it off as “workplace violence.”
Read more here.

Paul Rahe asks us to
Consider this. Why did the President not seek Congressional authorization? There is no question that Congress would have voted to approve military operations in Iraq and Syria. But, had the President asked for authorization, there would have been a problem. There is a faction in the Democratic Party — the faction that made Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2008. Its most resolute members would have voted against the resolution; and the party split, which would have been bitter, would have further depressed Democratic turnout in November. With this President, domestic political calculations trump everything else.

The President no doubt supposes that he will be able to extricate himself from the consequences of his folly by further speech-making. He is adept with his tongue, and our servile media will doglike come to the man’s aid. But, in this regard, Barack Obama is like the little boy who cried, “Wolf!” The time is coming when only the most slavish and shameless of his partisans will pay him heed.
Read more here.

Mother nature is in charge

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.

There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.

What happens when an infected person yet to become ill travels by plane to Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa or Mogadishu — or even Karachi, Jakarta, Mexico City or Dhaka?

The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.

In 2012, a team of Canadian researchers proved that Ebola Zaire, the same virus that is causing the West Africa outbreak, could be transmitted by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys, both of whose lungs are very similar to those of humans. Richard Preston’s 1994 best seller “The Hot Zone” chronicled a 1989 outbreak of a different strain, Ebola Reston virus, among monkeys at a quarantine station near Washington. The virus was transmitted through breathing, and the outbreak ended only when all the monkeys were euthanized. We must consider that such transmissions could happen between humans, if the virus mutates.
Read his recommendations about what should be done now here.

Will Scotland break away?

The Telegraph:
Investors have pulled money out of the UK at the fastest pace seen since the financial crisis of 2008 amid fears that Scotland will break away from the Union, triggering a broader political crisis.

Net flows out of Britain hit $27.3bn (£16.8bn) in August, the highest seen since Lehman Brothers collapsed, according to investment advisory firm CrossBorder Capital. Deutsche Bank said on Friday: “A Yes vote for Scottish independence on Thursday would go down in history as a political and economic mistake as large as Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failure of the Federal Reserve to provide sufficient liquidity to the US banking system, which we now know brought on the Great Depression in the US.”

The report shows that inflows have “effectively collapsed”, said Mr Howell, adding that only Japan is now seeing money being pulled out of the country at a faster rate.

So far this year the UK has experienced a net $206bn (£127bn) outflow, as money available for financial investment left the country. In 2013, a net $63bn (£39bn) flowed into the nation’s economy.
Read more here.

He made his fortune capitalizing on our sugar addiction, now he's going to pot!

One thing you can say about Obama supporter Warren Buffet: he knows how to make a buck. Bloomberg News:
Buffett, 84 and the world’s third-richest person, amassed his fortune through Berkshire’s acquisition of companies such as Dairy Queen and See’s Candies, and by taking leading stakes in others, such as Coca-Cola Co.

So what now? Pot, of course!
Ice cream, candy and soft drinks helped make Warren Buffett a billionaire. Now a subsidiary of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is seeking to profit from pot.

Cubic Designs Inc., a unit of Berkshire’s MiTek business that makes platforms for maximizing usable floor space in warehouses, sent about 1,000 fliers to weed dispensaries in recent weeks, offering to help growers expand the number of plants they cultivate.

Read more here.

Where are the global warmist profiteers when you need them?

Where is the shyster Democrat Al Gore when you need him? Have you had record cold temperatures this month where you live? Marc Morano writes:
246 Low Max Records Broken or Tied From Sept 1 to Sept 10 according to the NOAA.

A “Low Max” means that the maximum temperatures for the day was the lowest it has ever been.

Found here

Oh, here they come. Later this month they plan a march in New York City to influence the United Nations to draft a global warming treaty! Read more here.

Have you grown up yet?

Did you know that nearly one-third of all Young Adult books are purchased by adults in ages 30 to 44? A.O. Scott writes:
In my main line of work as a film critic, I have watched over the past 15 years as the studios committed their vast financial and imaginative resources to the cultivation of franchises (some of them based on those same Y.A. novels) that advance an essentially juvenile vision of the world. Comic-book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st-century Hollywood. They are its artistic heart.

Scott thinks:
nobody knows how to be a grown-up anymore.

Who or what killed adulthood? Was the death slow or sudden? Natural or violent? The work of one culprit or many? Justifiable homicide or coldblooded murder?

Leslie A. Fiedler saw American literature as sophomoric. He lamented the absence of books that tackled marriage and courtship — for him the great grown-up themes of the novel in its mature, canonical form. Instead, notwithstanding a few outliers like Henry James and Edith Wharton, we have a literature of boys’ adventures and female sentimentality. Or, to put it another way, all American fiction is young-adult fiction.

The founding brothers in Philadelphia cut loose a king; Huck Finn exposed the dehumanizing lies of America slavery; Lenny Bruce battled censorship. When Marlon Brando’s Wild One was asked what he was rebelling against, his thrilling, nihilistic response was “Whaddaya got?” The modern equivalent would be “. . .”

I do feel the loss of something here, but bemoaning the general immaturity of contemporary culture would be as obtuse as declaring it the coolest thing ever. A crisis of authority is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary and weird and ambiguous. But it can be a lot of fun, too. The best and most authentic cultural products of our time manage to be all of those things. They imagine a world where no one is in charge and no one necessarily knows what’s going on, where identities are in perpetual flux. Mothers and fathers act like teenagers; little children are wise beyond their years. Girls light out for the territory and boys cloister themselves in secret gardens. We have more stories, pictures and arguments than we know what to do with, and each one of them presses on our attention with a claim of uniqueness, a demand to be recognized as special. The world is our playground, without a dad or a mom in sight.

I’m all for it. Now get off my lawn.
Read more here.

The convergence of connected and automated technologies

How long do you think it will be before self-driving vehicles hit the road? The industry expects it to happen by 2020. A Reuters story today asks:
"What happens if a self-driving car gets into an accident? Who is liable for the damages? Will the human ‘copilot’ be at fault or will the car’s manufacturer?," the Center for Insurance Policy and Research wrote last month, citing "a long list of safety and legal issues to iron out before self-driving cars hit the road.”

All the razzle-dazzle technology promised by automakers and regulators "shouldn't take our eyes off the prize -- cars that don't crash," Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technology officer, said at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit this week.

Citi analyst Itay Michaeli said the convergence of connected and automated technologies also has the potential to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel usage, and bring down vehicle operating and insurance costs.
Read more here.

"You would still go to their eyes"

We can watch someone get gunned down on primetime and thrown off a building and stabbed 15 times but god forbid we see a nipple."

"No one's saying supermodels aren't beautiful, but you don't have to be that way to be beautiful," he says. "How many more ads can we see with essentially the same person?"

Olivia LaVecchia writes about Matt Blum and his wife Katy Kessler, who have created the Nu Project, which explores the art of female nudity.
When Blum started the Nu Project in 2005, his full-time gig was as a Catholic youth minister. Eventually he figured he had to talk to his boss, the priest, about the work he was doing on the side.

"I was like, 'Uh, I need to tell you this, because someone's going to find out,'" Blum remembers. "So I pulled up some images, and he was like, 'I don't want to look.' I said, 'Trust me.'

"I showed him," Blum remembers. "And he said, 'I think it's fine. You're not doing anything disrespectful.'"

But Blum was also frustrated with what he saw as poorly done nude photography. Everything he encountered was either idealized or sexualized.

These days, people's primary exposure to depictions of naked, or nearly naked, women comes mostly in the form of porn stars and supermodels, explains Mary Vavrus, a University of Minnesota professor who studies gender in the media.

"The very, very, impossible to achieve nudes are typically what we see," Vavrus says. "Only 1 percent of the human race is capable of achieving that standard naturally, and body image research over the years has shown that when women encounter the mainstream images of women using this beauty standard, they feel depressed and dissatisfied."

To Blum, the standard isn't just unsatisfying — it's boring.

"No one's saying supermodels aren't beautiful, but you don't have to be that way to be beautiful," he says. "How many more ads can we see with essentially the same person?"

"I was getting sick of it," Blum says.

His personal style was less about elaborate staging or lights, and more about capturing an expression. So he decided to apply the same approach to shooting nudes.

"Normally in a photograph of someone who's clothed you go straight to their eyes, but if someone's not wearing clothes you go straight to their body," says Blum. "My goal was to make photographs where, even if they're not wearing clothes, you would still go to their eyes."
Read more here.

Can fathers tell the truth?

In a famous exchange from the pilot episode of The Cosby Show,
Theo, the recalcitrant teen-age son, earnestly explained his poor grades by telling Cliff that he just wanted to be a “regular person” with a “regular life”—not a doctor or a lawyer. “Maybe you can just accept who I am and love me anyway, because I’m your son,” he said. Cosby waited for the studio audience to stop applauding before responding. “Theo,” he began, softly. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life!” This was a reprimand delivered both to Theo and to the audience, and Whitaker describes how the audience members reacted: “They hooted and hollered and jumped to their feet to give him a standing ovation. The applause was thunderous, and it went on for several minutes.” They liked knowing that Cliff was in charge—and that Cosby was, too.

Kelefa Sanneh points out that The Cosby Show brought us
the ideal of black self-sufficiency—the notion that, with enough time and effort, African-Americans could build their own communities, fix their own problems. Depending on the emphasis, this can seem like either a very conservative dream or a very radical one, and both interpretations help explain why “The Cosby Show” made some racial liberals uncomfortable.

Cosby’s anguish and anger found expression in 2004, in a monologue that he delivered during an N.A.A.C.P. banquet held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. It became known as the “pound cake” speech, because of its shocking central anecdote, which portrayed the hypothetical killing of an unarmed young black man in a skeptical light:

These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said, “If you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother.”

Cosby’s comedy is a celebration of the inevitable. The birth of a baby, the rebellion of a teen-ager, the irritation of a spouse: these are things to be endured and, if at all possible, enjoyed. But with the “pound cake” affair Cosby was calling for change, for a black cultural revolution, and in the process he inadvertently proved just how little influence he had, even—or especially—among African-Americans. For many who had been following his career, the dream of Cosby as the nation’s wise paterfamilias began to fade in 1989, when he gave a startling interview to the Los Angeles Times in which he discussed his daughter Erinn, then twenty-three, whose time at a drug-rehabilitation clinic had recently been uncovered by the National Enquirer. The news of her struggles was surely less damaging than Cosby’s intemperate reaction: he described her as “really very selfish,” adding that she “uses her boyfriends” and that she had the emotional maturity of an eleven-year-old.

What? Fathers can't tell the truth?

Sanneh chronicles Cosby's career and some aspects of his personal life that I did not know. Read the whole thing here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Exalting passion over passiveness

Are you in a comfort zone? Or are you passionately "taking risks and withstanding blows to your ego?" Are you
bleakly shuffling into that fading light like a gelded automaton?"
Of course, that is another quote from Chateau Heartiste, who recommends to his male readers that they should
Go into battle knowing full well your defeat is assured but that you’ll have a blast blowing holes in as many passion-killing droids as you can center in your crosshairs.
Read more here.

Are you a wrongthinker?

Is political correctness going amuck where you live? Chateau Heartiste writes that the point of
ritualistic shaming of those who dare to question the reigning equalist narrative is humiliation of wrongthinkers. Humiliate those who entertain even wispy tendrils of wrongthought and you spare the universalist religion and its glassy-eyed Hivemind followers from suffering stains of dispiriting truth upon its soul.
Read more here.

Obama and Kerry: taking a position diametrically opposed to reality

Are you ready for some sanity? Andrew McCarthy writes:
it should hardly be necessary to point out that Obama and Kerry, like Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, and like many Bush-administration officials before them (including President Bush), are dead wrong when they deny the nexus between Islamic doctrine –– the literal scriptures –- and terrorism, decapitations, totalitarian government, repression of women, rabid anti-Semitism, the murder of homosexuals, and so on. Still, it would be a serious error merely to observe that they are wrong, snicker at their fecklessness, and move on.

There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.

Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.
Read every word of this vital essay here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Putin visits Cuba to reopen huge spy base

Here is a story I had not known about. Jed Babbin wrote in July that Putin visited Cuba that month to
reopen the huge Russian spy base in Lourdes, on the west side of the island nation.
Read more here.
Have any of you read more about this?

With age comes wisdom

Autonomous flying combat machines

Do we want our next war to be fought by robots?

9-11: Liberty versus security

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Responding effectively to merciless female hypergamy

Chateau Heartiste plays this video today, then asks his readers:
Given a similar situation, how would you respond to a lover pulling the “Check out my merciless female hypergamy” shiv on you? I know what I’d do. Let her finish her monologue, wait a beat for the moment to grow flush with threatening potential, grin, sit back in bed, and say “Cool story babe”. Better yet, if I were drunk and hadn’t the mental storage space for cutting quips, I’d get up midway through her speech and leave unceremoniously, as if the noise of her voice was giving me a headache.

To respond with fury or hurt would be perceived as her victory; calm dismissal is a tried and true shiv parry that enervates even the most sadistically charged thrusts.

Or, you could take the approach of Jack Nicholson, which C.H. describes as:
This scene from Witches of Eastwick is a case study in how an alpha male steals the frame and totally deflates a bitchy woman’s stream of emasculating insults. Be Jack’s amused mastery, and then, when your antagonistic lover has had the wind knocked out of her shivvy sails, go on the offense until her former snarling attack posture is reduced to a quivering crouch of passivity.

It's border security, stupid!

Roger L. Simon has written an important post explaining why border security should be the number one campaign issue for Republicans. Read the whole thing here.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Two game suspension is now changed to being kicked off the team

Limitless applications of 3D printing

Drawing Spiderwoman

Famous moments in movies

Are you a movie fan? Can you name the movies from which these moments were featured?

Thanks to Ace of Spades

A US Military video of Robin Williams entertaining the troops

Thanks to Ace of Spades

Udahl gets it exactly wrong

Colorado Senator Mark Udahl says the two American journalists who have been beheaded in recent days would want us not to be impulsive. Except, Senator Udahl, it was Obama's dithering that caused the men to be spirited away from the prison in the desert where they were being held. So, Senator Udahl, you have it exactly wrong. Quick military action was called for, but not given the okay by President Obama. Have you not learned anything on the Senate Intelligence Committee?

Read here and here.

Farmers and their moral superiors

A family farmer has this to say about organic farming:
With the subtraction of every “unnatural” additive, molds, fungus, and bugs increase. Since it is difficult to sell a religion with so many readily quantifiable bad results, the trusty family farmer has to be thrown into the breach, saving the whole organic movement by his saintly presence, chewing on his straw, plodding along, at one with his environment, his community, his neighborhood. Except that some of the largest farms in the country are organic—and are giant organizations dependent upon lots of hired stoop labor doing the most backbreaking of tasks in order to save the sensitive conscience of my fellow passenger the merest whiff of pesticide contamination. They do not spend much time talking about that at the Whole Foods store.

Biotech crops actually cut the use of chemicals, and increase food safety. Are people who refuse to use them my moral superiors? Herbicides cut the need for tillage, which decreases soil erosion by millions of tons. The biggest environmental harm I have done as a farmer is the topsoil (and nutrients) I used to send down the Missouri River to the Gulf of Mexico before we began to practice no-till farming, made possible only by the use of herbicides. The combination of herbicides and genetically modified seed has made my farm more sustainable, not less, and actually reduces the pollution I send down the river.

But farmers have reasons for their actions, and society should listen to them as we embark upon this reappraisal of our agricultural system. I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, and I use a computer instead of a lined notebook and a pencil, but I'm still farming the same land he did 80 years ago, and the fund of knowledge that our family has accumulated about our small part of Missouri is valuable. And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm "industrially" to feed the world, and by using those "industrial" tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us.
Read more here.

How liberals put women at risk because of politics

Kut Schlichter shows us how liberals put women at risk because of politics:
Bill Clinton famously left behind a trail of abused and assaulted women, but did Hillary the Feminist Icon stand up against his serial sexual exploitation? Nah. She stood by her man instead and unleashed her minions to paint these victimized women as sluts, skanks and tramps.

The left rallied around Bill Clinton, finding his continued power more important than the women he abused. On the plus side, at least he didn’t pull a Ted Kennedy and kill any.

Certainly, liberals hate the notion of women protecting themselves, especially with guns. After all, independent women don’t need liberals.
Read more here.

Evil and indifference

Victor Davis Hanson writes about the evil in today's world, and why we explain away our indifference:
To deal with a Major Hasan, Americans cannot cite his environment as the cause, at least not poverty, racism, religious bigotry, nativism, xenophobia, or any of the more popular –isms and-ologies in our politically correct tool box that we customarily use to excuse and contextualize evil behavior. So exasperated, we shrug and call his murdering “workplace violence” — an apparent understandable psychological condition attributable to the boredom and monotony of the bleak, postmodern office.

But then suddenly along comes the limb-lopping, child-snatching, and mutilating Nigerian-based Boko Haram. What conceivable Dark Age atrocity have they omitted? Not suicide bombing, mass murder, or random torture. They are absolutely unapologetic for their barbarity. They are ready to convert or kill preteens as their mood determines for the crime of being Christian. In response, the Nigerian government is powerless, while the United States is reduced to our first lady holding up Twitter hashtags, begging for the release of the latest batch of girls.

Is the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab worse? It likes the idea that it is premodern. In addition to the usual radical Islamic horrors of beheadings, rape, and mutilation, Al-Shabaab even kills protected elephants, perhaps thousands of them, to saw off tusks and fund their killing spree. They seem to make the medieval Taliban look tame in comparison.

If a British politician demanded to strip Jihadi John and those like him of their passports or an American senator demanded that we not let in any more Tsarnaev-like jihadists, the outcry would be such that the crimes of beheading and blowing up people at a marathon might pale in comparison. Cutting off somebody’s head or blowing off a leg is one thing, but casting aspersions on the Other is quite another.

Evil is ancient, unchanging, and with us always. The more postmodern the West becomes — affluent, leisured, nursed on moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multicultural relativism — the more premodern the evil among us seems to arise in nihilistic response, whether it is from the primordial Tsarnaev brothers or Jihadi John. We have invented dozens of new ways to explain away our indifference, our enemies hundreds of new ways of reminding us of our impotence. I suppose we who enjoy the good life don’t want to lose any of it for anything — and will understandably do any amount of appeasing, explaining, and contextualizing to avoid an existential war against the beheaders and mutilators, a fact well-known to our enemies.
Read the whole thing here.

Russians practice cruise missile attacks on the United States

Bill Gertz has done it again. He writes today informing us that
Two Russian strategic bombers conducted practice cruise missile attacks on the United States during a training mission last week that defense officials say appeared timed to the NATO summit in Wales.

The Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying a route across the northern Atlantic near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s northeast.

Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box”—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets, said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.

Disclosure of the nuclear bombing practice comes as a Russian general last week called for Moscow to change its doctrine to include preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and NATO.

Russian nuclear forces will conduct a large-scale exercise in mid-September, state news agencies reported.

The Tu-95 is a nuclear-capable bomber that is outfitted with six AS-15 nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The missiles have a range of over 1,800 miles.

Google Earth analysis reveals that a Tu-95 launch box located in the Labrador Sea and firing AS-15 missiles would be in range of Ottawa, New York, Washington, and Chicago, and could reach as far south as the Norfolk Naval base.
Read more here.

Constitutional solutions to the terrorist threat

Over at Accept the Challenge, Chief Inspector guarantees us that our government's
"solution" to stopping further attacks on America will involve a further degradation of your freedom.

After 9/11 we made some effective changes that DID NOT involve crapping on the Constitution. Locks on pilot doors. Armed air marshals. They scramble fighter jets to intercept wayward aircraft.

Awesome. And not one of them infringes on my liberties.

TSA feel-ups, VIPR squad checkpoints, NSA wiretaps and Treasury Department financial controls DO infringe on my Constitutional rights. And they accomplish what?
But do not despair. The Chief Inspector has some real solutions here.

Synchronized mind meld

Picture a movie theater, packed for the opening night of a blockbuster film. Hundreds of strangers sit next to each other, transfixed. They tend to blink at the same time. Even their brain activity is, to a remarkable degree, synchronized.

It’s a slightly creepy thought. It’s also a testament to the captivating power of cinema, says Uri Hasson, a psychologist at Princeton University. At a recent event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hasson presented his research into what happens inside people’s brains when they watch movies.
Read more here.
Thanks to VA Viper

I don't think this one will be aborted

Okay. You're pregnant, and it's time for the ultrasound. How do you respond when the baby gives you thumbs up?

Photograph by meancloth on reddit

Thanks to Ann Voskamp

"It makes me feel good to be able to help someone"

Thanks to Ann Voskamp


Thanks to Ann Voskamp

Stay strong!

Victor Davis Hanson writes about how wars start and how they end.
disputes over honor or from fear do not always lead to war. Something else is needed — an absence of deterrence. Most aggressors take stupid risks in starting wars only when they feel there is little likelihood they will be stopped. Hitler thought no one would care whether he gobbled up Poland, after he easily ingested Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait believing the U.S. did not intervene in border disputes among Arab countries. Deterrence, alliances, and balances of power are not archaic concepts that “accidentally” triggered World War I, as we are sometimes told. They are the age-old tools of advising the more bellicose parties to calm down and get a grip.

What ends wars?

Not the League of Nations or the United Nations. Unfortunately, war is a sort of cruel laboratory experiment whose bloodletting determines which party, in fact, was the stronger all along. Once that fact is again recognized, peace usually follows.

It took 50 million deaths to remind the appeased Axis that Germany, Italy, and Japan in 1941 were all along far weaker than the Allies of Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The Falklands War ended when Argentines recognized that boasting about beating the British was not the same as beating the British.

Each time Hamas builds more tunnels and gets more rockets, it believes this time around it can beat Israel. Its wars end only when Hamas recognizes it can’t.

War as a reminder of who is really strong and who weak is a savage way to run the world. Far better would be for peace-loving constitutional governments to remain strong. They should keep their defenses up, and warn Putin, the Islamic State, Iran, North Korea, and others like them that all a stupid war would accomplish would be to remind such aggressors that they would lose so much for nothing.

If deterrence and military readiness seem such a wise investment, why do democracies so often find themselves ill-prepared and bullied by aggressors who then are emboldened to start wars?

It is hard for democratic voters to give up a bit of affluence in peace to ensure that they do not lose it all in war. It is even harder for sophisticated liberal thinkers to admit that after centuries of civilized life, we still have no better way of preventing Neanderthal wars than by reminding Neanderthals that we have the far bigger club — and will use it if provoked.
Read more here.

Why do we need a strong American military?

Robert Samuelson writes:
Since 2010, inflation-adjusted defense spending has declined 21 percent.
Is that because there is less need for a strong defense? Samuelson argues that just the opposite is true:
potential missions multiply: fighting terrorism; deterring cyber-attacks; protecting Europe (after Vladimir Putin's Ukraine gambit, more troops are needed there); coping with Iran's nuclear program; containing North Korea; maintaining open shipping lanes; dealing with a resurgent China (termed "the pivot to Asia").

More scathing is a congressionally mandated task force, the National Defense Panel. Its unanimous report warns that defense cutbacks "constitute a serious strategic misstep [that has] caused significant investment shortfalls in U.S readiness and ... have prompted our current and potential allies and adversaries to question our commitment and resolve." The report wasn't the work of cranks. The panel was co-chaired by William Perry, defense secretary in the Clinton administration from 1994-97, and retired four-star general John Abizaid; it also included Michele Flournoy, President Obama's undersecretary of defense from 2009-12.

Higher defense spending is in America's interest because global order is in America's interest. Global order is hardly guaranteed, but without a strong American military, the odds of global disorder are much greater. This fundamental national interest is being subordinated to short-term political interests -- Republicans who won't acknowledge that higher taxes are needed to pay for an adequate military; Democrats who will cut almost anything except retirement spending. History is likely to judge them harshly.
Read more here.

Hands-free driving

From the WSJ:
General Motors plans to launch by 2016 cars with a hands-free automated driving system and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems designed to help avoid collisions, intensifying the race among the world's auto makers to build cars that can partially drive themselves and avoid crashes without the help of their human drivers.

GM plans to provide vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology in its 2017 Cadillac CTS sedans. General Motors photo.

Read more here.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

New virus spreading across the country

Watch more news videos | Latest world news

Low carb!

Anahad O'Connor writes:
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.

By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity.

While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.

“They actually lost lean muscle mass, which is a bad thing,” Dr. Mozaffarian said. “Your balance of lean mass versus fat mass is much more important than weight. And that’s a very important finding that shows why the low-carb, high-fat group did so metabolically well.”

In the end, people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides — a type of fat that circulates in the blood — plunge. Their HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, rose more sharply than it did for people in the low-fat group.

Blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, stayed about the same for people in each group.

Nonetheless, those on the low-carbohydrate diet ultimately did so well that they managed to lower their Framingham risk scores, which calculate the likelihood of a heart attack within the next 10 years. The low-fat group on average had no improvement in their scores.
Read more here.

In the comments section, one commenter raised this point:
The brain only uses glucose to work. How much glucose is there in fat and protein. Zero. None. Glucose only comes from carbohydrates. Search the Internet for the words "brain" and "glucose". You will find articles and textbooks that say the brain, just your brain, needs 125 +/-grams of glucose per day plus what the rest of your body needs. If you diet is not at least 50% carbohydrate, your brain will not get that amount of glucose. Broccoli is a carbohydrate but has nearly 0 glucose. And sodas have mostly fructose which does not get to the brain. Only grains and starchy vegetables have much glucose.

Another commenter said this:
Despite this study, and close to 20 other studies documenting the link between a high-carb diet and obesity, the American Heart Association, the Agriculture Department and -- astonishingly -- the American Diabetes Association -- continue to recommend the very high-carb low-fat diet that makes people obese and sick.

It is a disgrace, and it speaks to the degree to which the government and those advocacy groups are beholden to the American grain industry.

Can you imagine if the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association in the 1960s accepted donations from the tobacco industry while denying the link between smoking and cancer?

A new NFL season

Peyton Manning embarks on his seventeenth season tonight, as he and his fellow Denver Broncos play the Indianapolis Colts in Denver. I have never seen such excitement and anticipation at the beginning of a Broncos season. Fans are snapping up everything stores can sell that have a Denver Broncos emblem on them.

The game has started, so you can roll up the streets and highways now. All television sets will be turned to one channel. Stores can close their doors and send everybody home.

Update: The game is over. Broncos won 31-24. Next up: the Kansas City Chiefs come to Denver next Sunday afternoon.

Dystopian futures

We're past that point

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Drinking alcohol is good for you, and abstinence is a cause of heart disease and early death?

Instapundit linked to an article by Stanton Peele entitled
The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy.
In it Peele asserts:
The U.S. public health establishment buries overwhelming evidence that abstinence is a cause of heart disease and early death. People deserve to know that alcohol gives most of us a higher life expectancy — even if consumed above recommended limits.
Read the whole thing here.

I haven't had an alcohol drink for many years. I thought I was doing the right thing. Not according to Peele.

Friday, September 05, 2014

She wasn't done!

Thanks to Ann Althouse

Committed, covenantal love

Ann Voskamp has a son leaving for college. She takes the time to say to him what she wishes someone would have said to her at that age:
Your naked body deserves the honor of being shared only with someone who is covenanted to never stop loving your naked soul.

Hook-up culture may have cheapened it and legalistic cultures may have shamed it, but the real Truth is you can’t contain the otherworldly beauty of it: Physical union is a parable of union with Christ.

It may not be popular, but I guarantee you it’s powerful: Unless physical union is about making committed, covenantal love — the essence of it’s God-given meaning is destroyed.
Read more here.

Finding meaning

Michael Ledeen writes about why young men join the Islamic jihad:
The spiritual path merged with politics, catalyzed by war. All fascism, whatever version of social or political organization it advocates, insists that war is the true measure of human virtue. A person’s valor and courage are measured by his performance in combat. The Italian fascists insisted that Mussolini and his followers were superior people who had been molded in the trenches of the Great War. Young men and women who believed they possessed heroic qualities raced to join the fascist movement, just as they now race to join the jihad.

It is not primarily a matter of social class, although there is a considerable literature on the recruitment of poor young Muslims to suicide terrorism, in which the recruiters offer money and security to the surviving family. The primary passion is excitement, the thrill of fighting the enemy, of making a signal contribution to the creation of a new world, and joining an irresistible force.
Read more here.

Just in time

Bill Gertz reported that Islamic terrorists have taken control of about a dozen commercial airliners in Libya. We are six days away from the anniversary of 9-11. What do you suppose the Islamists have in mind?

Paying those who are aiding the enemy

Former Rocky Mountain News writer Bridget Johnson breaks an important story today about the US Defense Department continuing to pay Afghan contractors who are aiding the enemy:
The inspector general has referred 43 cases to the Defense Department where the CENTCOM commander flagged an Afghan contractor as “actively supporting the insurgency” or where the Commerce Department found a contractor to be “engaging in activities contrary to the national security interests of the U.S.”

“Unfortunately, the Army suspension and debarment official decided that these designations were not adequate grounds for suspension or debarment and rejected all 43 cases,” Aloise continued. “We do not understand why the Army permits deadly enemies and their sympathizers to get federal dollars which can be used to buy the means to kill our troops.”

“Federal contract officials don’t bother to make site visits, fail to keep proper documentation, fail to enforce standards, and fail to ensure work is done before accepting it,” he added. “People, companies, and agencies need to be held seriously accountable for stupid decisions, dereliction of duty, corrupt behavior, and subpar performance. Otherwise, we simply foster the expectation that additional waste, fraud, and abuse will be tolerated in the future.”

Everyone wants the investment in reconstruction “to succeed in creating a stable and sustainable economy and government in Afghanistan,” Aloise stressed.

“But unless we are prepared and resolved to withhold funding when circumstances warrant, it is hard to see how the Afghan government can be adequately incentivized to pursue real reform.”
Read more here.

She never preached to the liberal choir

Camille Paglia on Joan Rivers:
“In her most recent book, I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me, Joan demonstrates her scathing rejection of humanitarian pieties and political platitudes. Unlike virtually all American comedians these days, she never preaches to the liberal choir for easy laughs. On the contrary, she goes against the grain and overtly offends and repels. She has endeared herself to free-thinking gay men by her pitiless attacks on political correctness. She cracks jokes about Nazis, mass murderers, the handicapped, the homeless, the elderly, starving children, racial minorities, stroke victims and even suicides (despite the suicide of her second husband, Edgar Rosenberg).
Read more here.

"That's how you get through life: You laugh, you can deal with it - done!"

"Jesus was Jewish - which makes sense, because He really loved His mother."

Susan Goldberg has a wonderful tribute of Joan Rivers videos over at Pajamas Media. Susan writes:
This is why I will most miss Joan and those of her generation: They were honest. Unfettered by political correctness, social disapproval, or cultural consternation, Joan illustrated what it means to be a fully self-actualized human being. Rife with opinions, emotions, and the ability to reason, she never asked that you agree with her, only that you respect her right to her own mind. And how refreshing was that?
Watch the videos and read more of Susan's tribute here.

Our Islamic-supremacist-enabling government

How can we get Obama and his advisors to read Andrew McCarthy? Who better than Andrew could educate them on the totality of the jihadist threat? McCarthy writes:
The current jihadist threat to the United States and the West is more dire than the threat that existed just prior to the 9/11 attacks, so anything that increases pressure for a sea change in our Islamic-supremacist-enabling government’s policies helps. Nevertheless, the perception that the Islamic State is something new and different and aberrational compared with the Islamic-supremacist threat we’ve been living with for three decades is wrong, perhaps dangerously so.

What is going on among the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas), and other factions is a power struggle for leadership of the Sunni side of the global Islamic-supremacist movement. Because of the audience to which these actors play, some of their differences are framed as sharia-based. Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda leaders (who are allied against Assad in Syria and were allied with the Islamic State until fairly recently) contend, for example, that the Islamic State’s unilateral declaration of a caliphate transgresses Islamic principles that call for consultation and consensus among sharia-adherent Muslims. They argue that Islamic-supremacist groups should work cooperatively in the formation of local or regional emirates, with an eye toward eventually assembling the global caliphate.

al-Qaeda has had cooperative and operational relations with Iran since the early 1990s. Iran collaborated with al-Qaeda in the 1996 Khobar Towers attack that killed 19 U.S. airmen; probably in the 9/11 attacks; certainly in the aftermath of 9/11; and in the Iraq and Afghan insurgencies. Al-Qaeda would not be what it is today without state sponsorship, particularly from Iran. The Islamic State might not exist at all.

The point is that al-Qaeda has never been anything close to the totality of the jihadist threat. Nor, now, is the Islamic State. The challenge has always been Islamic supremacism: the ideology, the jihadists that are the point of the spear, and the state sponsors that enable jihadists to project power. The challenge cannot be met effectively by focusing on one element to the exclusion of others.

Baggy pants are in style amongst the jihadists.

McCarthy continues:
I opined at the start of this piece that the threat to the United States is more dire now than it was before 9/11. How could it be otherwise? What jihadists need to attack the United States is safe haven and state sponsorship, which enable them to plan and train; financial and weapons resources; and lax immigration enforcement. On every one of those scores, the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other violent Islamic supremacists are in a better position than they were circa 1998–2001. The Islamic State, to take the most prominent example, controls a country-size swath of territory; has seized riches and advanced weaponry during its rampage; has enjoyed support from several countries; and targets an America in which border security is a joke, no effort is made to police visa overstays, and the federal government has actually discouraged and prevented state and federal agents from enforcing immigration laws.

The threat is worse, and worsening. But it is not confined to the Islamic State, and we cannot protect ourselves from it — cannot even grasp that it is a threat to us rather than simply to a faraway region — unless we understand the totality of it.
Read more here.

The very embodiment of ambivalence

Charles Krauthammer does not see Barack Obama the way E.J. Dionne sees Obama. Krauthammer sees Obama as "the very embodiment of ambivalence."
Read more here.

Acknowledge the high costs of impulsive action

E.J. Dionne comes to the defense of President Obama's foreign policy efforts.
Nonetheless, the president’s critics at home should also step back. They should stop pretending that careful, deliberate planning is a grievous sin and acknowledge the high costs of impulsive action. Obama is right to put in the effort to rally Sunni Muslim states to join the fight against the Islamic State. The struggle against brutal extremism will fail if it’s perceived as part of an inter-religious war that pits Sunnis against Shiites.

Obama’s comments in Estonia on Wednesday suggested that he has been listening to his critics. He made very clear at a news conference that it “is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that’s going to be required so that we can reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS [the Islamic State] has occupied, and make sure that we have allies on the ground in combination with the airstrikes that we’ve already conducted.” He was also clear about the United States taking leadership. “We are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world along with the international community,” he said, “to isolate this cancer.”
Read more here.

Learning to love life

Can you truly say you love your life? Joan Rivers loved every aspect of show business that she was involved in. She had her share of ups and downs, but never wallowed in self pity. That's what I liked about her. I also admired the way she figured out how to love her life.

The would-be kingmaker

I am sure we can believe Harry Reid when he says he had nothing to do with putting the squeeze on the Democrat Senate candidate to drop out of the Kansas race in favor of independent Greg Orman, who ran as a Democrat in 2007. Orman wants to be the kingmaker in the Senate. This is surely one of the most interesting Senate races to watch this fall. Read more here.